Malaysia: IFJ calls on authorities not to deport Kurdish journalist to Syria

Syrian Kurdish journalist Hamberfan Kosah has been held under arrest without explicit and public charges in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) airport since December 7. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) calls on the authorities to immediately release him and not to deport him to Syria, where his life could be at risk.

Kurdish journalist Himbervan Kousa. Credits: Twitter

Hamberfan Kosah, who writes for many Kurdish and Arab websites and is based in the Kurdistan region of Iraq was detained at Kuala Lumpur’s airport when he was travelling to Germany. According to media reports, communication with him was cut just after his family was notified about his arrest.

Malaysian authorities have not made public any charges against Kosah.

Several organisations and international bodies, including the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, expressed serious concerns over his possible extradition of Kosah to Syria, where he could face a real risk to his life. Kosah reported on the human rights violations by the Assad’s government and the Turkish-backed factions during the war and had to flee Syria in 2017 due to the threats he received for his reporting.

According to the SOHR, he is also wanted for conscription in the ranks of Al-Assad’s regime forces, especially since he refuses to participate in any military operations.

The Syrian Journalists Association (SJA), an IFJ affiliate, said: “We plead for the safety of Syrian Kurdish journalist Himbervan Kousa, and hopes that Malaysian authorities won't send him away to dangerous territories where there might be a threat to his life”.

The Syndicate of Journalists in Kurdistan-Syria also condemned the arrest and claimed that the deportation of the journalist to Damascus “could potentially threaten his life since the Syrian regime has a dark history when it comes to journalists”.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “We call on Malaysian authorities to immediately release Hamberfan Kosah and not to put his life at risk by deporting him to Syria”.

For further information contact IFJ Middle East & Arab World on +32 (0) 2 235 22 11

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Find the Middle East and Arab World IFJ regional office on Twitter (in Arab): @IFJ_AR